March 30, 2017 / 1:06 PM / in 2 years

Turkish foreign minister says U.S. arrest of banker is 'political'

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday described as “political” the arrest in New York of a senior executive from Turkey’s state-run Halkbank, charged with participating in a multi-year scheme to violate sanctions against Iran.

The banker is accused of conspiring with Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab, who is already on trial in the United States.

Cavusoglu told a joint news conference with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the U.S. attorney who launched the case against Zarrab had close ties with supporters of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. Turkey accuses Gulen of orchestrating an attempted coup last July.

Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz and Humeyra Pamuk; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Nick Tattersall

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